Wicked Wednesday….{No. 5}

Ok…who’s been checking their gardens for wicked plants lately?

I have several in mine….I shared last summer about our Bible Garden…..

You can read about it here and here.

I guess I have the flip side…a Wicked Garden, too…and didn’t even know it!


Ever heard of Mandrake? It grows in Europe, has fruit that looks like small, unripe tomatoes; but the danger lies underground in its root.


The Romans believed that it could cure demon possession. The Greeks used it for a love potion. In AD 200, in the northern African city of Carthage, Hannibal deserted the city and left behind a huge feast…..with wine laced with mandrake. It caused the whole army to fall in a deep sleep, he came back with his army and completely conquered them.

Shakespeare used it in Romeo and Juliet…..the friar made Juliet a potion with mandrake that would cause her to look “like death when he shuts up the day of life”.

Mandrake attacks the nervous system, slows it down, and induces a coma.

Go on Pinterest and search for Mandrake…..whoa!


Oleander was once believed to be an antidote for a snake bite. But, alas….it’s no such thing. It is highly toxic…all parts. It is grown in warmer climates {like here in the South} prolifically….hence, there are many tragedies each year. It only takes a couple of leaves to kill an animal.


Campers have tragically died by using the branches/stems to skewer their food and cook it. Many children have perished from eating the leaves.

Oleander suicides are not uncommon…especially among the elderly. It is grown quite often at many nursing homes……the elderly are quite aware of its toxicity. Sadly, in Sri Lanka, it is the most common way of committing suicide.

We have two beautiful ones in our garden. Please….if you come over…just look.

It is recommended that if you have pets or young children in your home or that visit often….do not have oleander in your yard or garden.

Heading out to put up warning signs in the garden…..



Wicked Wednesday……… {No. 4}

Each time I type that title I break out into the song from Wicked….you know, the last line…

“I’m feeling wicked!”

If you have not seen the show…by all means…..see it! On Broadway preferably.


When the settlers arrived in Jamestown there was a beautiful weed that seemed to flourish. Since other food was scarce…they thought they would add it to their diets.

They died horrible deaths….complete with convulsions and seizures.

The plant? Datura.

Commonly called Moonflower.


All parts of the plant contains the toxic alkaloids…but the seeds are where they are most concentrated. A woman in Canada used the seeds in a dish she was cooking because she thought they were a type of seasoning….she went into a coma for 24 hours and was hospitalized for 3 days.

In the past many unwise individuals {teenagers} goofed around and made a tea with the leaves….it caused dangerous hallucinations for days, fevers high enough to kill brain cells, and failure of the nervous system….leading to coma and death.

Not only do I grow moonflowers in our garden each year….I give seedlings as gifts. Maybe I should put a warning label on them:

Warning: Do not chew on seeds, use in food, or make tea with any part of this lovely plant. Just look at it.


Who knew that grass could kill you. There are actually many types of dangerous grasses.

A big one is Johnson Grass…..it grows throughout the U.S.


It contains enough cyanide to kill a horse. Death is usually very quick….preceded by hours of anxiety, convulsions, and staggering. Oh joy.

Just read a caption on Pinterest that said…’Did you know you can juice Johnson Grass just like wheat grass?’ Yeah. Right.

No, thanks.

Watch what you munch on~


Vintage Etagere {China Cabinet}

A few weeks ago I shared how we were so very honored to be special Memory Keepers…you can read about it here.

If you follow me on Instagram you have been a part of seeing some of the wonderful treasures that we have been gifted with. {If you’d like to follow on instagram here’s my handle: cottageintheoaks}

We now have a huge storage room full of wonderful vintage and antique furniture and items that we have lots of fun ideas of what we’d like to do with……here’s  a look at the first one that we’ve tackled.

Here she is…when we found her.

Found treasure - Vintage Etagere

Forlorn. Standing on her head. Needing a bath and some TLC.

How do I know she was a she? It was the curvy legs.

She was missing her door…but that didn’t bother us a bit.

Found treasure - Vintage Etagere

Here she is in her new home….the dining room. Handsome has repaired her badly damaged, curvy leg…and built her two new shelves, and a new bottom, since her original ones were missing.

Vintage Etagere

We’ve scrubbed and cleaned her up….and was so happy to find out she has vintage, wavy glass! We’ve been letting her settle into her new surroundings for a few days now….and this week she will be getting a coat of Paris Grey. She’s excited.

Vintage Etagere

And then she will be the keeper of all of our white dishes and serve ware.

Vintage Etagere

Can’t wait to show you the finished product! {Actually, I can’t wait to see it myself.} 😉

What are you up to this week?



Wicked Wednesday…..{No. 2}

I hope you are having a Wonderful Wednesday…not a wicked one! But I have some more fun, wicked plant facts to share……

Did you know that the Greeks used hellebore in one of the earliest known instances of chemical warfare?


{Source of photo}

Or that here in the American South kudzu has literally eaten buildings and cars? {I know if you live here….you already knew that one!}

Kudzu Eating a Building

{Source of photo}

Kudzu Eating a Car

{Source of photo}

Or that a killer algae escaped from Jacque Cousteau’s aquarium and continues today to smother the ocean floor all over the world?

Cousteau's Killer Algae

{Source of photo}

Encountered any of these???? =)

Have a Wonderful Wednesday~


Heart Rocks…….

Many years ago Handsome started giving me rocks that he would find in the shape of hearts.  Not ones that had been cut or shaped into a heart…but natural ones. My heart rock collection has grown ….. and continues!

It’s like a little Godwink when you look down and find a piece of nature that has been shaped into a heart.  {My pastor’s wife dropped by one day and left me a potato that was shaped like a heart. It was fun to find it in the mailbox, and then display it in the kitchen. It lasted several months! ha!}

heart rock collection

They have come from all over the nation….and some from other lands.

It’s like Valentine’s year-round! =)

Do you collect anything from nature?  Or is there one thing in particular that you have always collected, and probably always will?

There are some things that I collect for a season….and then move on; but heart rocks, vintage shave brushes, and ‘P’s’ are something that I always have and probably always will collect.

You can see my post about Collecting P here

and Collecting Vintage Shave Brushes here

Happy Beginning of Valentine Week!


Finding the Lovely {Week 2}


Yaaaaayyyyyy! It’s time for the weekend!

I hope you have had a lovely week….and if not, I hope you are able to look back and see that amidst the hardness….there was loveliness, too!

Finding the Lovely Week 2

My lovelies for this week????

My daily morning green drink…..gets me going!

A fun note/request added to my grocery list…with the addition of ‘thank you for being cooperative’ added in. =) Love. It.

A bird’s nest found while running errands

A special treasure found and brought home

Some fun new chairs for the cottage dining room!

My favorite soap for getting off paint, etc. after doing artwork

A cozy robe waiting….

Bed pillows!

My heart rock collection

A costume morgue neatly organized and ready…..

A winter camelia blooming in the garden

A clean kitchen floor

God finishing off a day in a spectacular way…

A fun Valentine Mantel

Tie-dye soap in the car wash!

Handsome’s lips……oooooo-la-la! Very lovely, indeed! 😉

Have a lovely weekend, friends~


These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

I love reading or hearing about other people’s favorite things….places to travel, activities, products, shops, etc.  When I started thinking of all my favorite things……whoa, it could get out of hand. There’s a lot! But I thought I would just share a few of my everyday favorite products…….maybe you might discover something cool you’ve never tried or heard about. =)

This is not a sponsored post….just me sharing some of my favorite items that I use everyday!

A Few of My Favorite Things

1.  Orbit sweet mint gum. Found it by accident…and now it is my favorite. {I have to only chew it when I’m by myself….I tend to really get-in to chewing my gum!}

2.  Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover. This stuff rocks! We’ve used it for years….and so far there has been nothing that it can’t get out.  I’ve shared it with so many people and they all fall in love with it. {You can quite often find it at AC Moore, Hancock Fabrics, Bed, Bath, & Beyond.}

3.  Muvazi Skin Care….every morning and every night. All natural, no chemicals, preservatives, etc.  Love it! It’s my twice daily routine.

4.  Restoration Hardware Super Hand Cream…..aaaahhhh, the BEST! I use it year round. The original is my favorite….and I love the smell.

5.  This candle burns in our home daily…..all day. Volcano is the name…and smelling wondrous is its game.

6.  A while ago I discovered a new cosmetic line……so far I have loved everything I’ve tried. My favorites are the smolder eyes liners and the lipsticks and the primers. Great stuff! {It’s sold at Ulta…and, of course, online.}

7.  Izzes….our favorite drink around here. There are 8 different flavors, we love them all. My personal two favorites are grapefruit and peach. But I also love apple and blackberry. Oh yeah, and pomegranate and blueberry. And yes, I also love clementine. They’re just all good…go get some!

8.  I started using Stonewall Kitchen products many years ago…and they are still a favorite. The syrups are divine…we use all of them…and we also love all the jams and jellies.

9.  Moroccan Oil……use it every time I wash my hair. Wonderful stuff. Smelly good stuff. Hair miracle stuff. Love all their products. {Don’t freak when you see the price…one bottle of the oil lasts me and my 2 girls almost 8 months.}

10. I love this artwork that our church is currently using. It reminds me that I want everything that I do, to have Jesus’ handprint on it. Everything. {I miss it sometimes and the handprint says Daune…..but I’m striving for it……}

11. We love Mrs. Meyers cleaning supplies.  It’s close to impossible to find all-natural cleaning products that smell good. I’m all about smelling good……and when you use Mrs. Meyer’s….you get both. Aromatherapy while you clean. Basil is our favorite…..we use the sprays, scrubbing/scouring powder, glass cleaner…. I also like Geranium, but Basil is definitely my favorite.

12.  This mascara is the bomb! I’ve used it for 26  years…..and every time I try something new I always end up going back to this one.

13. Our hand soap and dish liquid is always this stuff. We have a few favorites that we change out during the year:  Basil in the spring/summer, Spiced Chestnut in the fall, and Winter Forest in the winter. Works great….and, once again, my smelly needs are met.

14. I love Williams-Sonoma spices……you really can tell a difference when you cook with good spices. I cannot tell a lie. I would love to tell you to go to the dollar store and buy your spices….but I would be leading you astray. My favorite is the Hickory Smoked Sea Salt. I go to the pantry and get it out just to sniff it. {Is that a problem? Should I worry?} Here’s a recipe with it…..but we use it on everything.

15.  This cosmetic line is overall my favorite. Most of my cosmetics come from this line….love the colors and the quality. I’ve also loved getting my girls started with it because the colors are so beautiful and natural…they enhance…great for teenagers. {And non-teenagers, like myself. *ahem*}

16.  This paper company is my very favorite. I love a lot of paper/stationery companies…but this one is where I get most of my cards, writing pads, fun stuff, etc. {You may have seen many of their items in Anthropologie…they often carry a lot of this brand.}

OK…I shared a few of my everyday favorites. What are some of yours? I love new discoveries!

Happy Monday~


For the Love of Doors……

I have always loved doors. They give you a bit of a hint as to what may lie behind. A door says so much about who lives behind it. It makes an announcement. Some doors make me curious….I so want to find out what’s behind them. Some doors make we want to run away. And some doors are so boring I don’t even notice them.

It is the first thing that people see when they arrive….usually the first place they go to. It’s the way in…the place they can approach to be welcomed or turned away. It can be a vulnerable place. {Think back to when you were 6 and selling cookies for a fundraiser. =)}

For a while we have been contemplating the colors, etc. that we would like to repaint our cottage…..a repaint is long overdue.  Well, that includes the front door, too. We love our front door, but it needs a little freshness. Hmmmmmm……

While in NYC this past fall I had fun taking pics of doors as we walked through neighborhoods and different areas. Anytime we go anywhere I seem drawn to the doors….and we always end up with a lot of pictures of doors.

How about I share some with you……

These hinges were the height of two of my hands. Love the little window…….

wooden door with peep hole

Here’s the other side of it……..

antique door in NYC

Be still my heart! These are by far my favorite…….

vintage wooden doors

Talk about a welcome…….this is a taaaahhhhh-daaahhhhhh

red doors in NYC

As a fire chief’s daughter, I had to snap this one……love the door knocker.

firehouse door in NYC

On a brownstone in Millionaire’s Row…..check out the huge doorknobs.

brownstone doors

My guess is….a dog lives here. The chippies are in just the right places for that.

black vintage doors

The doors on St. Patrick’s…..so majestic and protective. I would feel safe inside these doors.

st patricks door

The main doors on St. Patrick’s Cathedral….if this puts things into perspective: my head barely goes above the top of the door handle.

st. patrick's door

What does your door say about your home and who lives inside?

I hope you walk through wonderful doors this weekend….with fun surprises waiting behind for you….



Historical Christmas {House Tour}

This past weekend my three violinists provided the music for the Historical Society’s Annual Christmas Tea. It was held in a beautiful, historical home. I had so much fun wandering around {I’m a wanderer….just in case you ever invite me to your house, you might need to know…..but don’t worry, I don’t go through drawers or anything.} I’m so glad that the owner loves for people to wander around his home! {People with the gift of hospitality usually don’t mind at all if you wander…..they have made complete peace with the dust bunnies, imperfections…in fact, they’ve incorporated them into their style. :)}

I love history…so this home was such a treat to take in. It is not how I would want to decorate our home, but so wonderful to enjoy. And, even if you are in someone’s home that doesn’t have the same style as you…..you can always learn so much. There’s always inspiration to take away…..inspiration that you can put into your own style. I love that. You also learn so much about someone that puts their own style into their home. It’s warm, inviting, reflects them and their family, what they treasure….it’s a home that is full of things of meaning. So, I just love spending time in other people’s homes and learning more about them.

While No. 1 Son got himself and his sisters all tuned up….I began to wander…..


It was a treat just driving up to this lovely place…..

historical home

Aren’t the natural decorations wonderful? Nothing says South like magnolia greenery!

front door christmas decor

Since holly in the South is not always plentiful….it takes a really cold winter to produce lots of berries…..a great alternative is nandina berries.

outdoor christmas decor

Wonderful window decor with greenery and fruit……

christmas window decor

The owner of this lovely home is an avid clock collector…and piano collector. There were several pianos in every room!


One of my favorite parts….you guys know I just love the falling apart ceiling! It shows the historical construction of the ceiling…..they don’t do ceilings like this anymore.

vintage ceiling

A gorgeous chandelier graced each room….this is the foyer one…..

chandelier 2 chandelier

Check out the wonderful woodwork, complete with fabulous ledges! We plan to do this in our bedroom when we redo it. {Really soon, right, Handsome? Right? ;)}

ledges on walls

Being a historical home…there was a fireplace in every room. Be still my heart…..

historical fireplace

This bathroom was incredible! The ceiling was stained glass..and, yes, that is a working leaded glass sink!

victorian bathroom

I really need this urn. It would be perfect for cider. Don’t you think I need this urn?

cider urn

The finial on the stairway….the main stairway reminded me so much of the Titanic! This finial was almost as big as me! OK, maybe I exaggerate. It was very large, though….about 2.5 feet tall…..

stairway finial

The main parlor fireplace……

fireplace in historical home

One of the many antique pianos…..

antique piano

Another wonderful light fixture…..

victorian light

All of the fixtures in the ceiling had special framing..each one unique and different. The details were amazing.

ceiling around light

And another……

vintage light fixture

I love this tip for houseplants…….fill the top of each plant with ice cubes, and as they melt the plant is watered.

houseplant watering tip

It was a great afternoon….such a treat.


Have you gone on any great house tours lately?

Christmas Blessings~


25 Things {No. 3} ::: Atlanta Version

German dough bowls

1.  I spent last week in Atlanta while No. 1 Son was in China. {I’ll share more about that later!}

2. Handsome, me, and the girls took my Mom, aka “Grammy” along with us. This always makes trips a little on the wild side. {After all, she is the daughter of my leopard-underwear-wearing grandmother. ;)}

3. I was so excited to get to go to the Country Living Fair! I’ve wanted to go for years and finally made it. It was well worth the trip.

4. I may or may not have come home with a car full of German dough bowls, French crated wine jugs, vintage ledger sheets, and various other fun things.

5. Handsome has family {aka Nanna & Poppa} in Atlanta…so we enjoyed visiting with them and taking them along to the fair. Grams was there, also…..so the grandparents outnumbered us all!

6. While at said fair Nanna mentioned how beautiful the mums were……so, Grammy {my mom} kept asking around to see if she could buy any.

7. Now, keep in mind that Grammy is in one of those little scooter things because she has had hip-replacement and has trouble walking for long periods of time. She leaves us in the dust! {You really should have to have a license for those……it can be life or death for those NOT on one!}

8. The rest of us go to the car at the end of the day and Handsome and his dad {Poppa} walk with Grammy to take her little scooter back.

9. On the way out Grammy sees a lady walking out with gorgeous mums and asked where she got them….she was going to surprise Nanna with a fun gift.

10. We have learned to start sensing at this point that something is about to happen that is akin to an “I Love Lucy” episode.

11. The lady said…”Oh, they’re giving them away for free in there!”

12. Grammy and Poppa get eye sparkles….Handsome shakes his head.

13. Poppa walks into the MAIN display area ….. the gorgeous, set-up, main shelter/meeting place of the whole Country Living Fair….yes, the famous magazine….. You know……the SHOWCASE area. Yep.

14. He said….”Nanna will love these!” Picked up two huge mums and walked back to Grammy & Handsome.

15. They begin their trek back to the scooter place….Grammy scooting sputtering along, Poppa and Handsome toting huge mums.

16. The battery dies.

17. It’s all uphill from there on. So, Poppa and Handsome with huge mums in one hand use the other hand to PUSH Grammy on the scooter the rest of the way. It is at the is time that Poppa, the retired high-level head honcho, says: “You know, I think we might have stolen these mums.” {This would be in between grunts.} Handsome begins praying….and I feel sure it started with ‘Lord, help us!’ And then ‘….for we know not what we do!’

18. They became desperate, tried to take a shortcut. Men with mums, especially stolen, become temporarily insane and lose all sense of direction.

19. They turned into what they thought would be a shortcut….because they could feel the hernias beginning.

20. It just so happened to be the one-way street for the Duck Mobiles at Stone Mountain Park. They were full of people.

21. As the families on the Duck Mobiles looked out their window and saw two men with giant mums in one hand pushing a lady flailing her hands and arms dressed in a zebra coat in a scooter uphill……well, they did what anyone on vacation and seeing such a sight would do. They all got out their cameras and took pictures.

22. Meanwhile me, the girls, Nanna, and Grams were pleasantly driving to meet them….with dough bowls, wine jugs, etc. hanging out windows and crammed anywhere they could be crammed. {A perfectly normal sight coming from the Country Living Fair!}

23. Finally the guys and Grammy crest the hill…..cram two huge mums in the car and between puffs let us know that they think they might have taken the wrong ones. Great. Now I’m an accessory.

24. We load 8 people, German dough bowls, French crated wine jugs, various ephemera, and the two probable stolen mums into the car and are stopped by the police. He said “I’m sorry, Ma’am, but you can’t park in the loading zone.” I said “Yes sir!”, floored it and got out of there!

25. Probably looking like the modern-day Beverly Hillbillies…..we headed home. You know, it’s hard raising parents and grandparents, sometimes you just feel like you can’t take them anywhere! 😉

Happy Monday~

If you’d like to read the other 25 Things posts you can find them Here and Here.